The 2020-21 Michigan football team will battle the Washington Huskies as their first opponent. How worried should the Wolverines be?
Washington, like Michigan football, has a historically great program that includes 17 conference championships and four national championships since entering the college football in 1916.
The Huskies dropped off the map in the early 2000s for about ten years, which included a winless season, but they have since made a resurgence under former head coaches Steve Sarkisian and later Chris Peterson, who made his name at Boise State before taking the gig at Washington. Chris vacated the coaching position in 2019 and it is now left to Jimmy Lake, the former defensive coordinator for the Huskies.
When it comes to recruiting, Washington is, again like Michigan, gifted at bringing in the best of the best and has maintained a top 20 ranked class as of late and typically finishes at second or third place in the Pac-12.
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One of the top priorities for the Huskies recruiting wise is the quarterback position. It’s critical at every school but Washington put an even bigger emphasis on gathering the top signal-callers in the nation and their ability to develop these guys is unmatched. 14 of the last 19 starters from Seattle have gone on to play in the NFL.
Last season, the Huskies were highly ranked at 13 and there’s a good reason for it; Georgia transfer Jacob Eason was the man under center. Before losing his job to Jake Fromm, as a freshman, Jacob threw for 2,430 yards which is no easy task when pitted against SEC defenses.
At Washington, Jacob started the season with receivers more than capable of blowing past their defender and an eventual 1,000-yard rusher in Salvon Ahmed. Despite all of that talent, the Pac-12 did what the Pac-12 does and each team took turns beating up on the other. By game two, the Huskies had lost their first game and it wouldn’t be the last. Ending with an 8-5 record, Washington was matched with – how perfect is this for his final go – Boise State and they dominated, scoring 38 to the Broncos lone touchdown.
What’s really odd is that since Jim Harbaugh joined UM, Washington and Michigan have the exact same amount of victories (37).
What to expect
The Wolverines, more specifically Don Brown, must prepare for a high flying offense that includes the spread with the occasional run for big yardage. The Huskies won’t allow anyone to stack the box because they will drop 50 points through the air. Don’s defense is partially suited for this kind of offense, but then again, it’s been caught in the past by the big plays when the corner can’t keep up. Dropping a safety or two might work, although, that’s when they catch you with the run.
Offensively, the Wolverines should have a field day and OC Josh Gattis should open up the playbook if everything is going right. There’s plenty of question marks about who will be the starting quarterback and which four will start on the offensive line, and those questions won’t be answered until they (hopefully) walk out onto the turf of Husky Stadium, but Pac-12 teams are not known for their defensive prowess so it should be a fun one to watch.